Help Me Build a Road Map to a Sustainable Future

<p>This is my first blog ever. If you&rsquo;re reading it, I must have figured out how to get it from my computer to yours. I&rsquo;ve been thinking about sustainability for years, since before I was picked for Clinton&rsquo;s President&rsquo;s Council on Sustainable Development.&nbsp; I came to the idea as a possible strategy to build support for preserving vast wilderness areas in what&rsquo;s left of one of the wildest pieces of America: the Colorado Plateau. I spent the 1990&rsquo;s exploring this question: If rural communities could build new, sustainable economies and become less dependent on traditional extractive industries, wouldn&rsquo;t residents become more active in the movement to save the wild lands surrounding them? <br /> <br /> I can make a great and complicated case for why any remaining wilderness&mdash;Alaska&rsquo;s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Wyoming Range, Utah&rsquo;s Escalante canyons or West Desert or Cedar Mesa&mdash;needs protection from energy development, but that won&rsquo;t be the focus of what I write here. What I plan to do is document what I&rsquo;ve learned personally about sustainability while wandering around wild in places that haven&rsquo;t changed for millions of years, landscapes similar to those where our first ancestors lived. My philosophy is based on the idea that our bodies are basically the same as those our Pleistocene ancestors lived in 150,000 years ago, and that many of our modern problems may be the result of our having created a world vastly different from that for which we were built.&nbsp; If one definition of &ldquo;wild&rdquo; is any organism that has not been genetically modified, then we are wild. Biologically, &ldquo;wild&rdquo; organisms have one goal: to pass life onto the future.<br /><br /> The &lsquo;conservation movement&rsquo; began with visionaries who could see the downside of modern development, standing up in front of wrongdoing. The result was laws designed to protect biodiversity and guarantee that the water we drink and air we breathe will be free from the toxic waste products of our industrial society. I see this as Phase One.&nbsp; We are well into Phase Two which involves both finding new ways to manufacture the things we need to negotiate the modern world, and changing how we live in meaningful ways that acknowledge our concern for future generations.&nbsp;&nbsp; This is the focus of justmeans and in my opinion, everything positive and anything interesting going on in the world right now.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> With my blog, I&rsquo;ll be exploring Phase Three, which I believe is the ushering in of a major paradigm shift in how we think about our evolutionary role on earth. Phase Three will require not only new knowledge, but our increasing ability to tap the same wild roots of survival we share with every living thing and that are hardwired into our cells. When Henry David Thoreau said, &ldquo;in wildness is the preservation of the world,&rdquo; is this what he meant?&nbsp; Is this the &lsquo;&rsquo;Two million year-old man&rdquo; that according to psychologist Carl Jung lives inside each of us?&nbsp; Einstein said that we can&rsquo;t solve our problems with the same mind that caused them. Could he be referring to some wild mind inside each of us that we need to learn how to use?<br /> <br /> While I don&rsquo;t expect to answer these questions, I hope that together we can wonder about a deeper dimension to sustainability.<br /> <br /> <em>Brooke Williams is an author and consultant dividing his time between southern Utah and western Wyoming. Soon, you&rsquo;ll be able to visit the website for his think tank: Great West Institute. He&rsquo;s writing a book: Between the Mountain and the Ant: Genealogy, Wildness, and Sustainability. He needs feedback on these ideas.</em></p>